(fashion) A woman who lost her two sisters in a horror car crash has revealed how her life spiralled out of control as she grappled with her grief.
Chloe Higgins was just 17 and on the verge of her final year of school on July 31, 2005, when Lisa, 9, and Carlie, 14, were killed during a car trip back from a weekend at the snow.
An inquest into their death could not find a definite reason the family car had drifted into oncoming traffic, and Ms Higgins' father Maurice, who was driving at the time, is plagued by his lack of memory of the incident.
Shattered by their deaths, Ms Higgins turned to prostitution and drugs as a way to escape the world where her siblings had died, and to navigate a life where everything was now up in the air.
'The thing the accident did bring out in me was like hunger for life, hunger for diverse experiences,' she told Daily Mail Australia.
'I went from being this straighty-180 sheltered and privileged 17-year-old, to kind of going into shock, and then being suddenly and acutely aware of the future and that it was not infinite.
'So [my thinking was] why not go out and experience as much as you could... you don't know when your time is going to be up.'
Chloe Higgins (pictured centre with her sisters, Carlie, right, and Lisa, left) lost her sisters in a fiery crash in 2005, just before her trial HSC exams
In her memoir 'The Girls', Ms Higgins, now 31, reveals how she struggled through her grief in the years following the crash, and how an inability to put words to her all-consuming emotion saw her admitted to a psychiatric ward.
'Being around family or friends or whatever, like, it was just kind of a huge reminder of the kind of previous world that we lived in,' she said.
'And so it was almost easier to exist in these other worlds where there was no reminders of the girls.'
Ms Higgins' first admission to a psychiatric ward came aged 18, after she had started self harming - dragging a razor blade across her left arm - at the time seeing it as a means to ask for help in a situation where she could not find the words.
'In hindsight, I do this not because my body wants it but because my mind has clocked it as a possible coping strategy, and I don't know what else to do to make the overwhelm stop,' she writes.
Now 31, she has published a tell-all memoir about her struggles with grief, and how she turned to living her life as a 'series of experiments' to cope with her traumatic loss
There, she befriended a woman named Charlotte, who would go on to inject heroin into her in a public bathroom at Sydney's Central Station shortly after their release from the ward.
Ms Higgins recalls the scene vividly - the voice of the train master over the loudspeaker and footsteps on the platform above, sitting on the toilet seat while Charlotte crouches in front of her, nearby a lighter, a spoon and a half-filled water bottle.
Charlotte tightened a belt around her arm and pushed her head up to the ceiling, counting down from seven as the drug filled Ms Higgins's veins.
'I don't see Charlotte again after the time we injected heroin in the city,' she writes. ' Thankfully, the mix of heroin and speed we took was too much, even for me, so I don't take it again.
'But I am still hungry for escape, looking for